Wilhelmsen insights

Building Tomorrow: Reflections on 2023 and Vision for 2024

Wilhelmsen insights |
Neal de Roche, President Wilhelmsen Port Services

As we start the new year, I am honoured to extend my deepest gratitude to all our invaluable customers, dedicated employees, and esteemed stakeholders. Your unwavering support and contributions have been the driving force behind our success throughout the challenges and triumphs of 2023. Together, we have propelled Wilhelmsen Port Services to new heights, and as we embark on this journey into 2024, let's take a moment to reflect on the milestones achieved and set our sights on the exciting prospects that lie ahead.

Reflecting on 2023: Strengthening Foundations and Expanding Horizons

In 2023, Wilhelmsen Port Services took strategic strides to strengthen our foundations and expand our reach, positioning us as a leader in the maritime industry. The acquisition of Vopak Agencies has broadened our capabilities and services in the port value chain, especially in the offshore projects and tanker segments. We also acquired 50% of diize, a Vopak developed digital software company, that helps enhance pre-arrival processes for our customers, ensuring streamlined and efficient port calls.

Our commitment to expanding horizons extended to Sweden and the Baltic Sea, where we now have 100% control of a joint venture, Gothenburg Ship Agency AB. This strategic move positions us for greater flexibility and responsiveness to the evolving needs of our customers.

Taking steps towards our ESG goals

To drive our global commitment to our ESG goals, we launched initiatives in 2023 such as the Operational Excellence Program, a comprehensive education initiative offering diverse internal and external trainings to empower our employees, enabling them to explore new opportunities and enhance their skills. Additionally, the Green Journey Program was introduced to encourage our global offices to embrace and implement initiatives such as going paperless, eliminating single-use plastics, installing solar panels and other similar initiatives, fostering a collective commitment to actively work towards our ESG ambitions.

In addition, we've attained ISO 14001 certification from DNV in 2023, a globally recognized standard for environmental management systems (EMS). Our strong focus on data governance, safety, and compliance is a testament to our dedication in being a responsible and compliant business partner for our customers, employees and stakeholders.

Shaping the Port Experience of Tomorrow

Despite challenges during the pandemic, it’s also worth mentioning that we have bounced back in the cruise market, with growth in services such as shore excursions and tour operations in various regions to provide extraordinary cruise experiences. Entrepreneurial initiatives from local ports and strategic partnerships with industry leaders, such as ECOsubsea, Platform 13 and diize, showcased our commitment to staying at the forefront of technological advancements. These collaborations empower our customers with insights for informed decision-making, enhanced efficiency, and simplified port calls.

Navigating Challenges with Resilience

In the face of global inflation and rising costs, our utmost goal is to ensure and keep providing excellent services for our customers, and we have worked hard to attain the efficiencies required to safeguard and elevate the quality of our offerings. Our constant dedication to strategic process optimization, improved efficiency, and prudent cost management have made our operations sustainable while maintaining excellence in services, even under the formidable pressure of escalating costs. 

Vision for 2024

Wilhelmsen Port Services is ready to expand into new markets as we plan for 2024, with the investment of the new Tbilisi Dry Port, opening later this year. This milestone extends our commitment to expanding our footprint, providing integrated port and logistics facilities in Georgia's capital.

We are resolute in our commitment to take progressive actions, propelling us forward in our pursuit of excellence and efficiency, and reinforcing our position as industry leaders. Our strategic goals for 2024 will revolve around continuous efforts towards our ESG goals, fostering innovation and contributing to the port value chain. These pillars will guide our efforts as we navigate the evolving landscape of the maritime industry, ensuring that we continue to set industry standards.

Sailing Together into 2024

As we embark on the journey into 2024, we recognize the importance of collaboration and partnerships in our shared success. We express our deepest gratitude once again to all our customers, partners, and stakeholders for your unwavering support. Our commitment to excellence, customer engagement, innovation, and growth remains steadfast, and we invite all stakeholders to join us in shaping the future of the maritime industry.

Stay tuned for exciting developments in 2024 as we continue our shared voyage. Together, let's chart a course for success and add another remarkable chapter to our stories.